Wed 14th Sep 2016
European Patent Office expands ‘early certainty’ scheme
The European Patent Office are extending their efficiency scheme, ‘Early Certainty from Search’ to examination and opposition of patents. The improved scheme aims to prioritise the conclusion of grants and reduce the duration of the opposition procedure.
To address the issue of timeliness in the patent process and to improve legal certainty, the European Patent Office has been implementing their scheme ‘Early Certainty from Search’ since July 2014. Following its success, the European Patent Office is extending the scheme to examination and opposition.
The ‘Early Certainty from Search’ scheme currently prioritises the issuing of all search reports and written opinions on patentability by providing them within six months of filing an application. The extensions to the scheme will prioritise grants, aiming to have them concluded within 12 months after the start of the examination process. The European Patent Office is also committing to ensuring that the length of the opposition procedure is reduced down to 15 months from the current 26 months.
This extension of the scheme will benefit patent applicants and those potentially affected by pending patent rights by ensuring that timeliness is prioritised throughout the patent process.
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